Xbox Series X Review Roundup: Power & Promise

Xbox Series X reviews are finally out. Does Microsoft’s next-gen console live up to the hype, and how much can fans tell from previous gen titles?

Reviews of the Xbox Series X are out, and consumers can finally read up on how critics have broken down and stress-tested Microsoft’s next-gen console. The Xbox Series X isn’t out officially until November 9, but its review embargo lifted today, with many trusted media outlets finally able to provide a glimpse into how it performs in a home rather than as part of an elaborate presentation from its manufacturer. While some reviews are out regarding Xbox Series S as well, we’ll be focusing on the more “core” console since it has the better specs and will be a better representation of the boundaries Microsoft can push with its next-gen console design.

So far, it appears the Xbox Series X is impressing reviewers, which must already be a relief for consumers who managed to snag a next-gen console pre-order. It’s no secret that it has been a struggle for fans to even attempt to get their hands on both the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, and that negativity has partially colored a build-up to launch that has otherwise been impressive for both. Microsoft’s console in particular has wowed consumers with its extremely powerful specs, pushing it closer to a gaming PC than a console in the traditional sense that the label might connote. While there were stumbles along the way – most notably the circus surrounding Halo Infinite, which was supposed to be a major selling point for the console’s launch – things have settled down for Xbox Series X, and consumers are eager to hear how critics feel about the new hardware.

Related: Xbox Series X Pre-Orders Are Arriving Early For Some Lucky Players

So far so good for Xbox Series X in that regard, as the console has left positive impressions on virtually every critic that’s had the ability to go hands-on with it recently. There are some recurring themes in the reviews that are worth discussing, of course, and not all of them are positive. The console’s ability to deliver on its promise, for instance, is very much up in the air thanks to a distinct lack of next-gen titles available at launch. Whether developers can push the tech available in Microsoft’s console to the point that it distinguishes itself apart from competitors will be another question, especially in early days, that can’t be answered until some exclusives pop up. Until then, though, check out what critics have to say about Xbox Series X power and promise:

Xbox Series X Reviews

Xbox Series X Top

IGN – 8/10 – Ryan McCaffrey

 “This bold and minimalistically designed box is quiet, compact for both the power it packs and especially how it compares to the PS5, capable, and loaded with convenience features like instantly resuming and cycling between any of your recently played games. Compared directly to the PlayStation 5’s specs, it flat-out gives you more power for the same price. It’s going to be a joy to see what developers actually do with it in the coming years.”

The Verge – 8/10 – Tom Warren

 “But the best part about the Xbox Series X is that it’s not actually a PC. I don’t have to worry about drivers, copious game launchers, or Windows updates ruining how my PC works. You turn the Xbox on, and you play games. If developers embrace the choice and performance options I’ve experienced on the Series X, I’d certainly be tempted to play far more on an Xbox with crossplay, cross-save, and keyboard and mouse support all becoming more prominent on Xbox.”

Eurogamer – Richard Leadbetter

“Ultimately, I believe that in Series X, Microsoft has indeed delivered an excellent next-generation system – but one that likely won’t show its many strengths at launch. Part of that is down to the lack of first party titles that really put the new technology through its paces and another part is very much down to Microsoft’s vision of a more gradual evolution in gaming as opposed to the generational, revolutionary shift Sony is aiming for with PlayStation 5.”

Bloomberg – Jason Schreier

“There are advantages to springing for the new Xbox, though. The Series X can run at least some games at 4K ultra-high-definition resolution and 60 frames per second. You need a fairly new television and a sharp eye to benefit from the former, but the latter makes a massive difference. With a higher frame rate, animations look smoother, controls feel more responsive, and the overall experience is far better. This may only matter to the biggest game enthusiasts, but after playing in this context, it’s tough to go back to old hardware.”

Screen Rant – Rob Keyes

“The Xbox Series X may be the most powerful console ever made but there’s nothing that demonstrates this yet and all of its games can be played on older hardware. It’s the best way to play what you already have and what’s coming up, but it’s even more of an investment for the future where games can be built from the ground up to take advantage of what only next-gen consoles can offer.”

Xbox Series X- Ominous Lighting

As consumers can clearly see from the bulk of Xbox Series X reviews, the console has left a strong impression on those who have gone hands-on with it. Even older games run so much smoother and with such noticeable improvements that some critics have suggested it will be difficult to return to the platforms they were previously on. That’s a lot of promise for a device that has so much ground to make up after Xbox One played clear second-fiddle to PlayStation 4, but there remain some questions, too: how will next-gen look on Xbox Series X? As noted by some, all the power in the world means very little if there aren’t high-quality games to play on the platform that holds it.

Of course, Microsoft’s acquisition of some big studios recently certainly lays the groundwork for some major exclusives down the road. How soon any of those will come, however – and if they’re good enough to compete with PS5, which, if it follows the same trajectory as its predecessor, will have a very strong exclusive library of its own – will likely determine the fate of the Xbox Series X far more than its specs will. The future remains murky, but if Xbox Series X reviews indicate one thing, it’s that Microsoft has set itself up to succeed with the console, and now simply needs to deliver the games that make the investment in this technology worth it.

Next: Xbox Series X Review: Super Fast and Super Familiar

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Updated: November 5, 2020 — 5:58 pm

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